Nonverbal Communication Analysis №3909: North Korea’s Parade — Projecting Power and Control — Body Language and Emotional Intelligence (VIDEO, PHOTOS)
Every year on the birthday of Kim Il-Sung, North Korea conducts a parade projecting military power. This year more eyes were watching, the festivities were more extravagant, and the missiles were more massive. The DPRK does possess nuclear weapons — and according to some sources, they may now be miniaturized enough to be carried by aloft by missiles. Their ballistics are “limited” to intermediate ranges — however these are certainly powerful enough to strike all of South Korea and Japan.
If you watched any of the major news reports, you probably saw the North Korean soldiers — both men and women marching in a particularly highly-stylized manner known as “Goose-Stepping” (Both still images exampled here were captured during Saturday’s parade).
In the video above, the dynamics of goose-stepping soldiers can be seen during 1:23–1:41.
What is the significance of goose stepping?
This military march originated in Prussia in the mid-18th century. At that time it was termed, the Stechschritt (which literally meant, “piercing step”) or Stechmarsch. The name “Goose Step” was later given to this marching movement by the British Military.
Of course, this, or virtually any military marching is choreography. It both engenders and demonstrates a high degree of group-think. If one can achieve this level of physical coordination and synchrony — a similar amount of mental molding and mind-melding will also occur (and vise versa).
Although many militaries still use Goose-Stepping, because of its strong association with WWII and Nazi Germany, a good number of nations have long-abandoned this practice. The term has become strongly connected with very visceral and negative emotions/images/associations of dictators, strongmen, fear, intimidation, oppression, and death.
From a pure body language perspective (without historical biases), Goose-Stepping projects strong emotional signals of:
- We will NOT accommodate you
- We will NOT bend for you
- You WILL DO as we wish
- You are one with us
- You are part of the group
- You are no longer an individual
- We are all of one mind
- We will control you
- You will conform
- We are powerful
- Fear us
This post and the associated website serve as reference sources for the art and science of Body Language/Nonverbal Communication. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author. In an effort to be both practical and academic, many examples from/of varied cultures, politicians, professional athletes, legal cases, public figures, etc., are cited in order to teach and illustrate both the interpretation of others’ body language as well as the projection of one’s own nonverbal skills in many different contexts — not to advance any political, religious or other agenda.